Six years after surviving breast cancer, Amber Marchese found what turned out to be a cancerous tumor in her breast two months ago. The Real Housewives of New Jersey, who'd undergone a double mastectomy and 18 months of treatments when diagnosed in 2009 and taken daily medication since, was shocked.
"I was just in total disbelief that this was happening, AGAIN! How is this possible?" Amber writes on her new blog for People magazine where she'll discuss her treatments and how she's coping with the emotional effects of facing cancer for a second time before 40.
Although Amber says "cancer is hideously ugly," she's found that there have been positive effects as well. "Somehow during this entire process, I became grateful for having cancer. Yes, you heard that correctly," she writes. "It has made me feel more alive and closer to God than ever. My faith has helped me conquer my fear; my spirit will never be crushed," says Amber, who is Catholic.
Despite being able to see the silver lining, Amber says being her second diagnosis with cancer was like "an out of body experience. As if I was watching someone else live this nightmare."
Amber's hope is that by sharing her story she can help someone going through the same thing, "I want to offer some tips on how my family and I learned to manage the anxiety, complicated testing, treatments and how we explored treatment options while maintaining our sanity," she writes.
She left her readers with her four first tips, and promises many more: Have a family member or friend present at all consultations, do not go on the Internet and read anything about your diagnosis yourself, find a peaceful place—if only for a few minutes a day, and talk about your diagnosis only if you want to.